Top construction chiefs call for more foreign workers

A dozen construction chiefs have set out a blueprint for the next Government to deliver infrastructure growth and boost the wider economy.

The plan calls on the next Government to implement a dozen reforms to deliver an unprecedented 244 projects that form the UK’s ambitious pipeline.

The hit list of reforms calls for a more flexible immigration system to allow firms to fill immediate skills gaps and help transfer specific skills to the UK workforce.

Tier 1 bosses also want to see the Apprenticeship Levy replaced with a more flexible skills levy focused on upskilling the next generation of home-grown talent.

Construction chiefs behind Blueprint for Growth report

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty

Ray O’Rourke, Laing O’Rourke

Richard Offord, VolkerWessels

John Wilkinson, BAM

Mark Reynolds, Mace

Richard Robinson, AtkinsRealis

Alex Vaughan, Costain

John Morgan, Morgan Sindall

James Harris, Mott MacDonald

Bill Hocking, Galliford Try

Scott Wardrop, Vinci

Mark Naismith, WSP

The firms argue increasing private investment will be essential, but warn obstacles such as policy instability and the planning system have created uncertainty for investors, despite the UK’s sophisticated finance models and attractiveness to pension funds.

As well as calling on the next Government to prioritise infrastructure with a new cabinet minister they also want greater certainty in planning, better budgeting and spending continuity.

Blueprint for Growth – 

A plan to ensure stability, continuity, certainty, and a steady flow of investment

Depoliticise infrastructure
A appoint new Cabinet Minister for infrastructure with cross-department oversight and clout
Increase private investment in public infrastructure by tackling obstacles such as policy stability and uncertainties in the planning system
Timely, holistic decision-making on key areas  such as new nuclear, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), and offshore wind
Improve budget setting to ensure accurate estimations of costs, benefits, and completion times for major projects, avoiding over-optimistic projections
Efficient risk allocation during project procurement to avoid prolonged negotiations and ensure fair distribution of risk ownership.
Investment continuity by avoiding delays on projects such as HS2 and Lower Thames Crossing which just raises costs and uncertainty
Simplify the judicial review process to refuse automatically Judicial Reviews where detailed examination already carried out in the Development Consent Order consultation and scrutiny
Mandate consideration of the national interest to force local authorities to consider the overall economic well-being of UK in decisions
Self-certification system to accelerate delivery by allowing post-consent non-material changes in Nationally Significant Infrastructure projects
Transform the Apprenticeship Levy to create a more flexible ‘Skills Levy’ to allow employers to allocate funds efficiently to bridge skill gaps, prioritising upskilling and shorter technical courses.
A flexible immigration system giving firms freedom to bring in experts from other countries to transfer specific skills to UK workforce. Simplify bureaucratic processes for bringing in short-term workers

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